This byway cuts through the heart of the original White River Plateau Timberland Reserve, set aside in the late 19th century as the second unit of what eventually became the National Forest system. Two decades later, in a foreshadowing of the 1964 Wilderness Act, development of any kind was banned around Trapper's Lake (the "Cradle of Wilderness"). The area's long-standing history of preservation and multiple-use land management makes for pristine scenery and superlative wildlife viewing. Yet this remains very much a "working" byway, dotted with active mines, ranches, and timber-producing woodlands. Meeker and Yampa, the route's two endpoints, embody the rugged individualism that lies at the heart of western lore.